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WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS

Empire State Capital Volkssporters

in association with the The Williams Inn

23rd Annual Seasonal Event

10/5 km Volkswalk (6.2 miles)

April 1 - November 30, 2017

college
AVA Event 106299
  #NE17/YR867

AVA Special Pograms

Boardwalks

Bridges - Spanning the USA
Cities in Song

Food for Thought
Honoring our Flag Ice Cream Parlors
Nat'l Register of Historic Places
Points of Reference
Take a Walk in a City Park
Trekking with Trees
Underground Railroad
US Post Offices
You'll Never Walk Alone


Welcome To Williamstown, Massachusetts This event is sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association (AVA) a member of the International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV). Participants are eligible for credit toward IVV Achievement Awards.

Course Description: The 10 km (6.2 mi.) is rated 2B.   The picturesque village of Williamstown is situated in the Berkshires at the Vermont/New York border.  It is the home of Williams College, the renowned Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the nationally acclaimed Williamstown Theatre Festival.   Follows paths, streets and sidewalks in the picturesque village of Williamstown and through the campus of Williams College. President Garfield graduated from Williams College in 1856. Walks along the Green River and past the Williams College Cemetery. Charles Webb, author of “The Graduate” went to Williams College.

Starting Point:   The Williams Inn,   Junction of Routes 2 and 7, Williamstown, MA.

Hours: The course is open daily 8:00AM to dusk. YRE's can only be done during daylight hours.

Directions:(Click here for driving directions from your location)

The Williams Inn is located at the junction of Routes 2 and 7 in Williamstown, MA. Williamstown is located in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, bordering on NY and Vermont - 43 miles east of Albany, NY and 140 miles west of Boston, MA.


From Albany(Capital District) New York and points west: New York State Thruway to Route I-87 North to Exit 7, Route 2 East in Latham.Take Route 2 East through Troy and over the mountain and down into Williamstown. Turn left at the southerly junction of Routes 2 and 7. Continue two miles north. The Williams Inn is on the left of the Village Green at northern junction of Rtes 7 and 2.
From the North: I-87 (Northway) South to Exit 7 Route 2 East Latham. Then follow directions from Albany.
From Boston/ Mass Pike and points east
 Take the Massachusetts Turnpike West (I- 90) to Exit 2, (Lee/Lenox). Follow Route 20 West to Route 7 North. Continue on Route 7 North through Pittsfield, Lanesboro, New Ashford and into Williamstown. The Williams Inn is on the left of the Village Green at northerly junction of Routes 7 and 2.
map

Registration & Fees:
"A" Award and credit is $6.00.
IVV Credit only fee is $3.00.
For Non-IVV credit walkers $2.00.

Award:   
                    The  "A" Award is a  1 1/4" rectangular pin depicting Williams College.

       award

Refreshments & Restrooms: Water and restroom facilities are available at the start/finish and along the route. Refreshments are also available at many establishments located in the main part of town.
Walkers are encouraged to carry water during warm weather.

Acknowledgements: ESCV would like to thank the staff of The Williams Inn for the use of their facilities and for their assistance. Without them this event would not be possible.

Click here for Information on Williamstown (Chamber of Commerce)

Contact:

E-mail  Susan Grey  or  Rita Gavin       
Phone: (518) 399-0159 or (518) 439-2229

Groups of six or more please contact  the above.

{Return to YRE/Seasonal Page}

History of Williamstown
In 1750 village lots in the newly surveyed West Hoosac plantation were first offered for sale by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Court probably had two motives in establishing the plantation: to settle and fortify the northwest corner of the colony, lying along a heavily used Indian path, and thereby protect towns to the east and south; and to prevent Dutch settlers in New York from inching over their eastern boundary into Massachusetts.

The area was a heavily forested wilderness, and although some of the lots were purchased by speculators, many were acquired by soldiers from Fort Massachusetts, four miles to the east.

The early years were difficult for the settlers. The French and Indian War brought fear of ambush, scalping, and arson, and in 1756 a blockhouse and stockade were built at the site of the present Williams Inn, as a refuge from repeated raids.

. With the coming of peace in 1760 settlement began to increase. More land was divided and cleared, some roads were cut, and farming became the dominant way of life in the valley. Small saw, grist, and fuelling mills appeared, easing the labor of colonial living. Professionals and craftsmen began to arrive as well: a doctor, lawyer, cobblers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and shopkeepers.

In 1765, to comply with terms in the will of Colonel Ephraim Williams, who bequeathed funds for the founding of a local free school only if the hamlet was incorporated and re-named, Fort West Hoosac officially became Williamstown. The school opened in 1791 and became Williams College in 1793.  

Until the Industrial Revolution, the town flourished on a combination of dairy farming, sheep herding and wool production, small local mills and general stores. The American Foreign Missionary movement was born here at a prayer meeting in 1806, when a group of Williams College students, taking shelter under a haystack from a sudden thunderstorm, proposed sending the Gospel abroad. And always, the scenic beauty of the surrounding mountains was an important part of life. The Alpine Club, formed in 1863 under the inspiration of Professor Albert Hopkins, sponsored mountain climbing and camping excursions in the local hills, it declared purpose being "to explore the interesting places in the vicinity, to become acquainted...with the natural history of the localities...also to improve the pedestrian powers of the members."

 The coming of the railroad and the Industrial Revolution changed the face of Williamstown. Although the amount of water power in Williamstown limited the extent of industrialization it experienced, the town was transformed by the appearance of the Walley Mill and Williamstown Manufacturing Company (Station Mill), both textile mills, and A. Loop and Company (Water Street Mill), which manufactured twine.  

Summer tourism grew, and both the elegant Idlewild Hotel in South Williamstown and the Greylock Hotel on the corner of North and Main Streets, were in their heyday. The catchy and descriptive phrase "Williamstown the Village Beautiful" was coined by Henry Tague, manager of the Greylock, who was also successful in pushing for construction of the Taconic Trail. Sand Springs, famous to the earliest Indian tribes for the medicinal properties of its thermal spring, also thrived as a grand resort, and later as a Sanitarium, and bottling plant for spring water. When flavorings were added, Sand Springs Ginger Ale became a renowned soft drink.

Farming continued in Williamstown during this period, and Mount Hope Farm, a major experimental farm that gradually grew to over 1300 acres, was noted for its success in using genetic principles to improve the yield of potatoes and to boost the production of egg-laying poultry and dairy cattle. In addition to being a large local employer, Mount Hope's findings were useful worldwide.

After World War II, Williamstown grew rapidly. Businesses changed. Recent major employers have included Carrol Cable, Steinerfilm, Ivy Guild, Sweet Brook Nursing Home, Williamstown Medical Associates, and the Mount Greylock School District. But with the admission of women in the 1970s and its consequent expansion to over 2000 students, Williams College is the largest employer by far.

Today, with a population, including students, of 8,056, Williamstown continues to be known for the scenic beauty of its surrounding mountains, for Williams College, and for the cultural attractions of its Theater Festival and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.